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RoadFile statistics provide food for thought

RoadFile

Latest update of Asphalt Industry Alliance online hub reveals shifting pattern in road use from 2010 to 2019

TRAFFIC volumes on Great Britain’s roads have increased by more than 50 billion vehicle miles a year – more than 16% – since 2010. Big changes are also being seen in the types of vehicles on the roads, with the number of light commercial vehicles growing at more than double the rate for cars. For the period 2010–2019, the number of licensed cars grew by 12.2%, whilst the growth in light and commercial vehicles was 28.5%.

These data form part of a comprehensive update of publicly available road-related statistics collated on RoadFile, an online hub delivered by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) using sources such as the Department for Transport (DfT) as well Eurostat for comparison with GB’s near neighbours.

The GB data also indicate shifting patterns in the way in which the road network is used, with minor roads showing a more significant increase in traffic volumes than motorways and A roads. Traffic volumes on minor roads grew 25.3% between 2010–2019, in comparison with 11.8% on all major roads.

‘Reviewing the collated outputs and data sets alongside each other on RoadFile, gives those of us in the highways sector a lot to think about,’ said AIA chair Rick Green.

‘For example, the growth in light licensed commercial vehicles and recorded increase in traffic volumes on local roads, may point towards the ‘Amazon effect’ – emphasizing the increasing importance to our economy, even before the pandemic, of the ‘final mile’ for deliveries and the importance of our local roads in supporting the UK’s digital economy.

‘And, when considering the higher growth in traffic volumes on minor roads, compared with motorway and A roads since 2010, it also begs the question of why our vital local road networks still don’t receive their fair share of funding. After all, it is generally accepted that local roads make up more than 97% of the total network in length.’

According to DfT figures, annual public expenditure on national roads has increased by more than 96% since 2012, whereas, for local roads, the increase was just 9.7%.

‘A good place for the Government to start would be making a five-year commitment to investing in local roads in the upcoming budget and the spending review to follow,’ said Mr Green. ‘This would allow local highway authorities to plan ahead and allow a more cost-effective whole-life approach to upgrades and maintenance.’

Updated statistics on RoadFile cover the period up to 2019 and are available at: www.roadusers.org.uk

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